NREL Challenge


Geothermal Collegiate Competition - Class of 2022

Foster understanding of geothermal, communicate benefits of geothermal technologies, and overcome non-technical barriers to development.

Challenge Overview

Welcome to the Academic Year 2021-2022 Geothermal Collegiate Challenge. Please follow the challenge to stay up to date on announcements and more details.

Through the Geothermal Collegiate Competition, the DOE Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) encourages students to develop innovative solutions for geothermal energy application challenges and build career skills for the clean energy workforce. By engaging students not traditionally involved with geothermal research, GTO aims to raise awareness of geothermal resources among communities and the public, thereby broadening the geothermal stakeholder base.

The Geothermal Collegiate Competition invites participation by teams of at least three students enrolled in accredited U.S.-based collegiate institutions or U.S. citizens enrolled at non-U.S. based collegiate institutions. In this case, “collegiate institution” refers to any school of post-secondary or higher education, including but not limited to community colleges, technical colleges, and traditional four-year and graduate-level universities. See “Who Can Enter” for more information on eligibility. There is no cost to register or participate.


Challenge Guidelines

Please review the official rules  for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at


Challenge Timeline

June 16, 2021, 5:05 a.m. PDT
Date Launched
Aug. 9, 2021, 8 a.m. PDT
Sept. 14, 2021, noon PDT
Informational Webinar
Nov. 18, 2021, 2 p.m. PST
Submission Deadline
Optional Core Progress Submission Deadline
Nov. 18, 2021, 11 p.m. PST
Elective Modules Progress Submission Open
Dec. 1, 2021, 7:51 p.m. PST
You are here
Dec. 2, 2021, 8 a.m. PST
Feedback on Core Progress Submission provided
Feedback on Core Progress Submission provided
Feb. 17, 2022, 2 p.m. PST
Submission Deadline
Elective Modules Progress Submission deadline (anticipated)
March 3, 2022, 8 a.m. PST
Feedback on Elective Modules Progress Submission
Feedback on Elective Modules Progress Submission (anticipated)
April 14, 2022, 2 p.m. PDT
Final Submission Deadline
Final Submission Deadline
May 17, 2022, 8 a.m. PDT
Final Winners Announced
Winners announced (anticipated)
June 19, 2022, 11 p.m. PDT
In-Person Stakeholder Engagment Events - Summer 2022
Summer 2022 Winners' In-Person Stakeholder Engagement Events - watch for announcements!
Updates 13

Challenge Updates

Optional Core Progress Submission Due TOMORROW, 11/18/21

Nov. 17, 2021, 3:17 p.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

As a reminder, the optional Core Progress Submission is due tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, by 5 p.m. EST.

While this is an optional submission, it is highly encouraged as you will receive valuable feedback from competition organizers. Information on completing this competition deliverable is available in the Geothermal Collegiate Competition Rules

Teams can still elect to join the competition in the spring semester, with the first mandatory deliverable due on Feb. 17, 2022. 

"Tips for a Successful Geothermal Collegiate Competition" Webinar Now Available

Nov. 16, 2021, 2:56 p.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

A webinar offering tips and tricks to set you up for success with the Geothermal Collegiate Competition is now available to watch on demand! Caity Smith from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory walks through the competition timeline, deliverables, and submission best practices.

Have any last-minute questions before you submit your Core Progress Submission on Thursday, Nov. 18

  • Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 17, for “Ask Me Anything.”
  • The competition organizers will be available at 2 p.m. EST to answer any questions about the competition, your submission, geothermal energy, geothermal careers, and more!
  • Register at

Core Progress Submissions and Updated Challenge Rules

Nov. 15, 2021, 10:13 a.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

To enable the participation of additional spring semester entrants, Core Progress Submissions have now been made an optional component of team submission packages. Teams are strongly encouraged to create Core Progress Submissions—those who do not will miss out on the opportunity for valuable feedback!  

All other submission components are still required, including Elective Module Progress Submissions and Final Submissions.  

As a reminder, the deadline for optional Core Progress Submissions is this Thursday, Nov. 18. For further details, please see updated Official Competition Rules

"Ethical and Responsible Stakeholder Engagement" Webinar Now Available

Nov. 11, 2021, 12:10 p.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

If you missed the "Ethical and Responsible Stakeholder Engagement" webinar on Nov. 3, 2021, the recording is now available to watch on demand

Laurie Hietter, a member of the Geothermal Board of Consultants for the Kenya Electricity Generating Company, shares best practices for stakeholder engagement and discusses why robust community involvement is essential for the geothermal industry.


"Geothermal 101" Webinar Now Available

Nov. 8, 2021, 11:13 a.m. PST by Kelly MacGregor

If you missed last week’s Webinar Wednesday, “Geothermal 101,” you can now watch the recording on demand. The video is also available below. 

Gene Suemnicht, CEO of EGS Consulting Inc., talks all things geothermal energy and why everyone should care about this renewable energy source. 

Teams 106